Concrete Condominiums will Stand the Test of Weather, Time

With torrential rain and wind-blown debris during the hurricane season, developers in the Chesapeake Bay region face the challenge of building structures that can withstand severe weather. Using concrete, developers of Lynnhaven Dunes in Virginia Beach, Virginia, created a community that is both durable and energy efficient, exemplifying the environmentally responsible philosophy of sustainable development.

Because the complex was built with concrete, it will not rust or rot from prolonged exposure to water, requiring less maintenance and energy to repair than structures built with other materials. Also, the reinforced concrete that fortifies Lynnhaven Dunes can withstand winds that reach more than 140 miles per hour.

The sustainable benefits of concrete also extend beyond the durability of Lynnhaven’s outer walls. The complex features energy-efficient insulating concrete forms (ICFs), in which concrete is poured around a stacked foam frame. Walls with ICF systems have high thermal mass to limit temperature fluctuations from the outdoors. Therefore, Lynnhaven Dunes requires far less energy to regulate temperature, and residents enjoy lower heating and cooling bills.

“The mass of concrete acts like a reservoir with the ability to slow down the passage of heat from the interior to the exterior, and vice versa,” said T. Reid Pocock Jr., president of Tidewater Polysteel, Virginia Beach, and ICF subcontractor on the Lynnhaven Dunes project. Insulating concrete forms are also practical for use in condominiums because foam insulation gives residents optimal acoustic privacy.

Lynnhaven also illustrates how concrete allows architects to incorporate innovative design options. For example, the complex features the extensive use of glass to fill it with more light and give it an open feeling. The strength of concrete walls compensates for the vulnerability of glass.

The design of the exterior structures at Lynnhaven Dunes is also sustainable. Concrete pool decks, balconies, parking garages, and sidewalks require little maintenance and resist water damage. Over time, the outer structures will need minimal resources to maintain, despite the sometimes extreme weather on the Chesapeake.

Project Team
Developer – Reese Smith Associates, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Insulating concrete form subcontractor – Tidewater Polysteel, Virginia Beach, Virginia